Jalen Hurts is widely expected to be the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback in the 2021 season and, if all goes well, for the foreseeable future.
But Hurts told reporters on Wednesday that he isn't going into the season assuming he'll be handed the starting gig:
Jeff McLane @Jeff_McLane
Jalen Hurts on not yet being named the starting QB:<br><br>“Rent’s due every day.”<br><br>Likes Nick Sirianni’s approach to building competition. Recalls Nick Saban and how he handled Alabama. Said he’ll be ready once rent is due.<br><br>“I’m not above competition.” https://t.co/2CAmYuWf7G
Hurts, 22, took over as Philly's starter late in the 2020 season as a rookie, replacing the struggling Carson Wentz, who has since been traded to the Indianapolis Colts.
In 15 total games (four starts), Hurts threw for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions, completing 52 percent of his passes. He added 354 rushing yards and three scores.
The stats don't jump off the page, and the Birds were just 1-3 in his starts. But the offense unquestionably ran smoother after he took over for Wentz, and the hope will be in Philadelphia that a full offseason to work with the starters will see the young quarterback take a jump.
Granted, he'll be learning a new offense under new head coach Nick Sirianni and new offensive coordinator Shane Steichen. A veteran in Joe Flacco looms if Hurts struggles. He'll have a new weapon in rookie wideout DeVonta Smith and a young group of receivers, and nobody expects the rebuilding Eagles to go from 4-11-1 last year to contention this season.
But Hurts appears ready to prove that he's not only a capable starter, but a true franchise quarterback. And his teammates seem to believe in him. Veteran center Jason Kelce praised Hurts while speaking with reporters on Wednesday:
“I’m excited to see what Jalen can do this year. I really like his mentality. All the intangibles, this kid has them in spades. He’s got a great quiet, calm confidence to him. He’s cocky. You can tell in his head he’s the best player on that field, but he doesn’t make all the... receivers, all the other players, feel like that’s the case. He still appreciates all those other guys.
"He’s still humble enough. But also confident enough at the same time. And that’s hard to find in a player. But that’s the way most of the [best] players I’ve been around are. So I’m excited to see what he can do this year.”
So are Eagles fans.